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12 September 2019

Any part of the tooth can suffer from decay, but some areas are more vulnerable than others.

By far the most common dental problem we see at the Confidental Clinic is tooth decay. Many of us will remember this issue from our youth, when we probably ate too many sweets and suffered from a toothache that has long stuck in our memory!

If you are one of these people, you would most probably have had the tooth filled using an amalgam filling which is very visible, rather than the almost invisible white fillings that are often used now. Have you ever looked in your mouth though and thought about which part of the tooth that it is that was affected, and wondered why?

While all parts of the tooth can be affected by decay, some areas are more likely than others. In no particular order, we look at three of the most common areas below, and explain how you can reduce the risk of tooth decay generally.

Biting surface

On the side and rear teeth especially, there are small pits and fissures present on the flattish surfaces that grind and chew our teeth. These rougher surfaces make breaking down our food more efficient, but they also provide areas where residual sugars and bacteria can become trapped. This is an inevitable consequence of eating our food and can only be addressed with effective teeth cleaning.

Brushing of the teeth diligently is the best way to do this. We recommend that you use an electric toothbrush with a healthy set of bristles (no older than 3 months). Allow this to rotate on the flat surfaces of the teeth and you should be able to keep them clean relatively easily. Modern toothpaste is also much better than before and contains a variety of ingredients designed to counter decay and gum disease.

The rear teeth

Our rear teeth come under a lot of strain as they are used quite forcefully to chew and break down our food. As mentioned above, they have rough surfaces where decay is quite common, but it is not the only place. Another common area of the rear teeth where our Surbiton dentists often detect tooth decay is at the very back of those teeth. Food can become trapped there, as it does in many areas of our mouth. The reason why decay there is so common though, is that people often neglect to clean that area quite so well, as it can be more difficult to reach.

It may require a little extra effort but it really is worth spending a little additional time focusing on those trickier areas in our mouths. The smaller heads of an electric brush can make it easier to clean those areas than the bulkier manual toothbrush head; so it’s well worthwhile investing.

Finally, as we shall see in the next section, using dental floss can be very helpful in releasing trapped food from between our teeth. It may be a little difficult at first, but with a little bit of patience and trial and error, you should soon be able to clean there quite effectively.

Between the teeth

This is probably one of the most common areas for tooth decay, and also for gum disease. Unfortunately, even the most effective brushing will not be able to clean these areas completely, and bacteria and tiny food fragments may remain lodged, slowly converting to sugars and acids that damage the enamel surface, allowing decay to spread. The risks are even greater where your teeth are uneven and compacted against each other.

As for the back of the rear teeth, dental floss is your best bet to clean this area. Vigorous swilling of the mouth with water or mouthwash may help to remove the bulk of food and bacteria, but it is likely that some will remain, often trapped in the gum pockets. Dental floss is a great way to keep these areas clean, but sadly, it is a method that is used far too infrequently, resulting in unnecessary tooth decay for many. Dental floss is cheap and, whilst maybe a little fiddly when you first attempt it, should only take a minute or two at night before you go to bed to perform this nightly oral health care task. You should obviously also brush your teeth as well, of course!

Finally, another way to improve the health of all of these areas of your teeth is to have them professionally and thoroughly cleaned by a dental hygienist. At the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, our hygienist, Janice Andrews will be only too happy to help you on the journey to maintaining healthy teeth and gums! Why not make an appointment to see her by calling us on 020 8399 1291 today?

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